Preserved 3rd Century Ship with Amphorae Found off Hvar

Total Croatia News

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Photos: Saša Denegri i Robert Kramarić

June 25, 2023 – Another sensational find on the Adriatic seabed – this time a perfectly preserved 3rd century ship complete with many amforae.

In the waters of Šćedro Island just off Hvar, a completely preserved, so far undiscovered shipwreck with a load of ancient amphorae from the 3rd century BC was found. In accordance with the cooperation plan of the Croatian Navy with the Navy of the Italian Republic, joint training of mine counter divers of the Croatian Navy Fleet and their Italian colleagues was conducted in the waters of the central Adriatic from June 15 to 21.

By using anti-mine procedures and different types of equipment (autonomous underwater vehicles and remotely controlled underwater vehicles), in the first week joint fitness training was carried out in the waters of the island of Čiovo, while in the second week diving activities took place in the waters of the island of Hvar.

The long-standing cooperation of the HRM with the Italian RM has intensified since 2021 through the engagement of mine counter divers of the HRM on Italian mine hunter ships, as part of the Permanently Present Group of NATO Ships (SNMCMG2).

This activity proved to be a great opportunity to improve cooperation with other state administration bodies and scientific institutions. Considering the possibility of conducting underwater activities in worse weather conditions and taking into account previous information from the Ministry of Culture and Media about existing and potential archaeological sites (shipwrecks), the location of the exercise was chosen in the sea around the island of Šćedro.

The activity was carried out in cooperation with the Ministry of Defense, the Conservation Department in Split of the Ministry of Culture and Media and the University of Split. After the perimeter of the search was determined, a multi-layered recording (scanning) of the bottom was started, by processing the obtained data, i.e. by reviewing the recorded material, several potential “contacts” (positions) that could represent archaeological sites (shipwrecks) were detected. The target positions were then inspected with an underwater ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle) equipped with a smaller sonar and camera, or joint teams of Croatian and Italian anti-mine divers immediately performed dives in order to determine the context of the findings. An inspection of one such position resulted in the discovery of a hitherto undiscovered, fully preserved ancient shipwreck.

Underwater archaeologists Saša Denegri of the Ministry of Culture and Media and Tea Katunarić Kirjakov of the University of Split conducted dives at the site in question and determined that it is a completely preserved, so far undiscovered shipwreck with a load of ancient amphorae from the 3rd century BC, lying at a depth of 50 meters.

Considering the dating and preservation of the site, it is one of the earliest, fully preserved shipwrecks on the eastern coast of the Adriatic. Future archaeological research will determine the exact context, distribution and characteristics of the site, on the basis of which plans will be made for its protection, conservation and presentation.

Original Croatian text from Ministry of Culture here.


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